Adrianne Moss, Antonio Brown’s mom, raised her two boys on her own until Brown was 16 years old. When Brown was 16, his mother remarried and he became homeless.
Moss raised Antonio Brown and his younger brother, Desmond, as a single mother in Miami, Florida. The boys were born when she was young. Their father, Eddie Brown, left to pursue a football career, and Moss stayed behind with her sons, according to a 2015 ESPN article, in which Brown shared details about his relationship with his mother and his tumultuous upbringing.
When Brown was 16, Moss remarried and Brown had a tumultuous relationship with his stepfather. Brown and his stepdad, Larry Moss, had a “falling out” and the teen was asked to leave the house. He moved from house to house, staying with his friends and teammates when their families had the means to help him. When he had nowhere to stay, he would sleep for an hour or two in hotel rooms rented by the hour, he said during a 2012 interview.
“It was a little rough,” he said during the interview. “My dad was away, my mom had another husband, and that relationship with me didn’t fine-tune very well. As a teenager, I had to live with teammates and kind of find a way for myself.”
Moss and Brown eventually reunited. He has said in interviews he does not have any hard feelings for his mother. In fact, he said he credits the difficulties in his childhood for making him a successful football player and a good dad.
“I know we all go through things for a reason, and I don’t blame it on nobody because God controlled my life, and he had a plan for me, and I know he took me through that for a reason, and that’s the reason that I’m here today in this position, because I was able to learn from the things that I’ve been through and better myself in the midst of going through those things,” he said in the 2012 interview.
Brown also reunited with his dad, Eddie Brown, who was also an NFL player. He was a wide receiver for the Cincinatti Bengals from 1985 to 1991.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Brown’s Mom Raised Him Until He Was 16 & He Was Estranged From His Dad
Moss raised Brown until he was 16 years old. The family lived in Miami, Florida. Moss and Brown’s dad, Eddie Brown, were in a relationship but eventually split up. Eddie Brown was 18 when his son was born. He left to play football for Louisiana Tech when Antonio Brown was a baby, and Moss stayed behind with her son, according to a 2015 ESPN article.
Moss was a single parent to Antonio and his younger brother, Desmond, for most of his childhood. For a few months in 1996, the brothers went to stay for a few months with their father in Albany, New York, where he was working as a high school football coach. He later put his sons on a plane. They would not see their father again for years, ESPN reported.
Eddie Brown was also an NFL football player. He played for the Cincinatti Bengals as a wide receiver from 1985 to 1991. Eddie Brown was estranged from his son, but continued keeping tabs on his son’s career as it unfolded. They eventually reunited.
2. Moss Remarried When Her Son Was 16 & Antonio Brown Became a Homeless Teen
Moss remarried when Brown was a teen. Her new husband, Larry Moss, and Antonio frequently butted heads. Eventually, Brown was asked to leave the house at age 16. He stayed with friends and teammates, bouncing from house to house when his friends’ families had room. Sometimes he would stay at hotels which sold rooms by the hour, he said in a 2012 interview.
When asked how he would describe his childhood, he said it was “a little rough.”
“My dad was away, my mom had another husband, and that relationship with me didn’t fine-tune very well. As a teenager, I had to live with teammates and kind of find a way for myself,” he said.
As a teenager, he said he did not understand, thinking he had no fault in being kicked out of the house. He was angry, but he got a new perspective as an adult.
“As a kid a young kid, 16 years old, couldn’t understand. You’re born in the world with your parents, and all the people that brought you into the world abandoned you. As a kid, you would never understand that, being that, in your mind you’re just the perfect kid.”
3. Moss Was Forgiven By Her Son, Who Said His Childhood Prepared Him For His Career
There is no hostility between Moss and her son. Brown said he forgave her long ago. Brown credits her, in part, with his success, he said in a 2012 interview.
He said he is not angry at his mother.
“No, I can’t be,” he said. “That helped me to excel as a man, and probably the reason that I’m in the position that I’m at, due to the things that I went through. It could’ve been a different story if I would’ve been raised in that house. Things could’ve went a lot different, but I think the hard road that I took was better for me. It helped me appreciate things, made me become a man earlier, and also it helped me become a great dad.”
Brown said that his difficult childhood prepared him for his football career. It forced him to grow up quickly, but he said the challenges he faced as a teenager shaped him for the better.
“I know we all go through things for a reason, and I don’t blame it on nobody because God controlled my life, and he had a plan for me, and I know he took me through that for a reason, and that’s the reason that I’m here today in this position, because I was able to learn from the things that I’ve been through and better myself in the midst of going through those things,” he said.
4. Moss & Brown Rebuilt Their Relationship & She Sometimes Flies Out to Watch His Games
Moss and Brown rebuilt their relationship. Mother and son talk regularly, and she even flies out from Miami to see his games at times.
When an ESPN reporter asked Brown in 2015 if he was excited for his mother to watch his game, he answered, “She’s excited.”
Moss is on good terms with both of his parents, and he has a relationship with both his mother and his father. He told ESPN he forgave his father, saying he did not know what he was going through when he left the boys and failed to give Moss support.
5. Moss Called Brown Asking If He Was Retiring When Retirement Rumors Were Flying in August
Moss and Brown’s dad, Eddie Brown, heard the rumors he would retire and called him, asking if they were true. The fact that his parents considered the possibility he would retire based on rumors upset him.
“I don’t know where they got that from, or who made that up, either,” Brown said in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “Why would I retire, man? I have a beautiful career. I’m healthy. I love to play the game. Obviously, I inspire people with the way I play the game. I’m grateful to play the game. I’m excited to put it all on display, not only for my family but for these guys and our shared goals and everybody in the community who believes in me.”
“I hate it when my mom and my dad call me and say, ‘What the f—? Retirement? Where’d he get that?’ I never said that,” he added. “That’s the hardest part for me as an athlete.”